Experts have lamented that the complexities of climate funding and sustainable development investment are creating barriers for African countries accessing multilateral funding for projects to mitigate climate change impacts.
They bemoaned that climate financing intricacies are creating inequitable outcomes in accessing and utilising climate funding – and could get worse with the ‘just transition’ approach. Particularly, they said, the lack of capacity and stringent eligibility criteria hinder access to multinational funding; a situation they described as deliberate to deprive Africa of the promised funding support.
The experts include Professor of Global Climate and Environmental Governance and Director of Centre for Climate and Development at Alex Ekwueme Federal University Nigeria, Chuks Okereke; Climate Change Policy Advisor and International Negotiations, South Africa, Xolisa Ngwadla; Professor of Energy and Development Policy at the University College London and a Fellow of the African Academy of Sciences (AAS), Yacob Mulugetta; and Deputy Director, Nuclear and Alternative Energy, Ministry of Energy, Robert B.M. Sogbadji, spoke at the inaugural ‘Dare to Share Knowledge Platform’ (DtoSKP) on just transitions – a new approach to tackling climate change initiatives in Accra.
They highlighted that African countries often face challenges in accessing climate finance due to a lack of capacity and resources to develop bankable projects, and complex application and approval processes as well as strict reporting requirements pose challenges for African countries.
The experts shared that while Africa is being pushed to fast-track its renewable energy transition programmes, member-states are being short-charged in harnessing funds for projects – hence their calling for simplification of the processes for more access.
Mr. Xolisa Ngwadla emphasised that African countries can only achieve ‘Just Transition’ when multinational partners are ready to offer more grants than loans, and zero interest rates among other innovative, friendly funding.
Unlocking access to climate funding
While Prof. Chuks Okereke believesthat multinational funds and banks are not ready to simplify the process of accessing climate funds for developing countries in Africa, he advocated the six ‘Ps’ strategy: namely platform, people, plan, project, political-will and programme for unlocking these funds.
He mentioned a need to create platforms for fuelling the discussions on climate change actions, resource people, putting together a strategic plan, developing bankable projects, ensuring strong political will, and having innovative technically-driven programmes linked to international strategies.
Ghana’s climate financing situation
Dr. Sogbadji mentioned that in the case of Ghana, funding support for various interventions has been apportioned in percentage terms to sources such as government budgetary allocation, multilateral development banks, international development partners and the private sector, which pushes the complete transformation timeline to 2070. Therefore, he said, the inability to access funds due to these complexities and bureaucracies may push the agenda to 2080 or 2090.
“Our energy transition plan is designed to achieve the ‘Just Transition’ agenda because it’s not supposed to affect utilisation of our natural resources and economy in general; but the challenge is that global partners say the 2070 timeline is too far because we are to achieve that by half-century – and that means we have to commit more resources and also forgo some of our natural resources. If we are to do that, something has to replace them so we can keep the economy running and create jobs while addressing energy poverty.
“So, for a Just Transition to be achieved, the multinational development funds and partners must provide the resources we need to accomplish our energy transition projects. These funding supports, going forward, must not be aligned to the present unfair financial markets for African countries,” he said.
Just Transition is a framework developed by the trade union movement to encompass a range of social interventions needed to secure workers’ rights and livelihoods when economies are shifting to sustainable production, primarily combatting climate change and protecting biodiversity
It means a comprehensive and inclusive approach that ensures fair and equitable outcomes when transitioning toward a sustainable, low carbon future – creating decent work opportunities and leaving no one behind.
Director, United Nations University (UNU) – Institute for Natural Resources Africa (INRA), Fatima Denton, explained that the Dare to Share Knowledge Platform (DtoSKP) emerged as a response to growing complexity in today’s sustainability challenges. It takes a bold step to bridge this gap through collaboration and knowledge-sharing.
The two-day symposium held in Accra brought together experts from all over Africa and was a call to action – the realisation that a shared trajectory toward the desired sustainable future hinges on a collective effort which transcends boundaries and empowers marginalised voices.
Key objectives include creating a space for multiple stakeholders to discuss Just Transitions from varied perspectives, and identify barriers experienced in the emergence of multiple voices on Just Transitions and diversity.